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'Mad Cowboy' says you're safer with organic beef

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Big Muddy rancher

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The cattleman-turned vegetarian whose 1996 interview with Oprah Winfrey landed him and the famous talk-show host in court is still raising concerns about beef.

Howard Lyman, known as the Mad Cowboy, was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show when he discussed the subject of mad cow disease and the then-legal practice of allowing processed cattle to be used as protein in cattle feed. A group of Texas cattlemen tried, and failed, to sue Lyman and Winfrey over remarks made during the show.

At one time, Lyman owned a large Montana ranch and was a member of the Montana Stockmen's Association. The retired stockman is now a vegetarian.

"I lived south of Great Falls, Montana, and at one time I had over 7,000 head of cattle, 12,000 acres of cropland and had 30 employees," he said.

"I think you should be careful eating beef anywhere. Anything that is not organically certified, I think is like playing Russian Roulette," he said from his home in Washington state. "If the beef was certified organic I wouldn't necessarily have to know the person who produced it, but I would never buy beef if I did not know how the animals were raised. Now, I don't eat anything that has a face, a liver, or a mother."

Lyman left the beef industry after 20 years of operating his feedlot. He sold his ranch and started working for farmers in financial trouble. This led to working for the Montana Farmers Union and from there to Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist for the National Farmers Union.

How could a former cattle rancher speak out against his own industry?

"Before they confirmed mad cow disease in North America, they thought I was the one with holes in my brain. After mad cow disease was confirmed, you would be surprised at how much smarter they thought I had become."

Lyman speaks out against feeding animal byproducts to animals . "They are still doing it here in the U.S.," he said.

Lyman was asked, "When you were a beef producer in Montana did you ever see any cattle that you suspected may have had BSE?"

"Oh sure, I think everybody that has been in the business for any length of time would see an animal that would make you wonder about that ... and you shoot, shovel, and shut-up," he said. "Any beef producer, whether they are north or south of the border, they are not going to call up a health official and ask them to test another animal . It is just economic suicide if you were to do that. I don't blame those guys a bit. Are you going to lose everything you worked a lifetime for when even the government won't even test every animal ?" Lyman asked.

In Canada, officials say 87,000 cattle have been tested for BSE, or mad cow disease, since the discovery of the disease in an Alberta cow in 2003, with a surveillance program that targets cattle where the disease would most likely be found, including "downer" cattle that can't walk and diseased or distressed cattle. Testing has also been ramped up in the U.S. in the wake of BSE discoveries there.

To prevent the transmission of BSE, a ban has been in place in both Canada in the U.S. since 1997 that prevents parts of cattle and other ruminant animals from being used in cattle feed. Canadian officials are also mulling further restrictions that would extend to cattle protein used in feed for other types of animals .

As a further safeguard to public health, "specified risk materials" such as brains -- the cattle tissues that, in BSE-infected cattle, have been shown to contain the infective agent for BSE -- also must now be removed at slaughter.

When asked about Montana and the R-CALF movement, Lyman chuckled that many of the ranchers belonging to R-CALF -- a group that has tried to permanently block cattle trade with Canada since the discovery of BSE in Alberta in 2003 -- were his friends.

"If you are looking at the economics of the issue, any producer in the United States doesn't want to see Canadian beef come down any more than a Canadian rancher wants to see American beef come up," said Lyman.

"I personally believe that the beef in Canada is probably safer than beef in the United States because I don't think the producers in Canada ever got on the bandwagon of feeding cows back to cows at the high rate that they did in the U.S.," Lyman said.
 

theHiredMansWife

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At one time, Lyman owned a large Montana ranch

Actually, if I remember correctly (it's been a while since I read up on him), he never did have a ranch. A dairy farm and a feedlot, but not a ranch.

I wonder if that would have changed his opinion....
 
A

Anonymous

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reader (the Second) said:
Mike said:
They don't call him the "Mad Cowboy" for nothing. :mad: :mad:

I'm not in favor of "Mad Cow" jokes of any form for obvious reasons. Someone at work in front of a large audience put up a "Mad Cow" cartoon and I explained that he would find a joke about Alzheimer's or cancer tasteless, so why not "Mad Cow"?

For a while the hottest bumper stickers around here were the
"The Only Mad Cow in the US is Oprah"... I wonder how many had to scrape those off their outfits? :wink: :lol:
 

cowsense

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OT......Could any Montanans give us some background on Lyman.....I can't fathom how a so-called rancher could resort to vegan activism against his so-called friends! The only thing that bothers me worse about this is the myriad of viewers that rely on Oprah for their view of the world :!: :mad:
 
A

Anonymous

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cowsense said:
OT......Could any Montanans give us some background on Lyman.....I can't fathom how a so-called rancher could resort to vegan activism against his so-called friends! The only thing that bothers me worse about this is the myriad of viewers that rely on Oprah for their view of the world :!: :mad:


cowsense- You know about as much as I do about Lyman...But I do know he was extremely convinced about the US governments coverups--much like we've seen for years in 2 of my buddies battles with Agent Orange, the Libby (Mt) vermiculite coverups, the radiation disease exposure problems, etc. etc..... Anything that the govenment thinks they can hide until they're all out of office or gone from the scene they've done...
 

Soapweed

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Howard would lie, man. :wink:

Back when all this was happening, a bunch of us pot-bellied ranchers were standing around with our thumbs in our pockets, visiting about the woes of the world. I smarted off and said, "Well, Oprah shouldn't worry about getting mad cow disease. She's already got it."

My quick thinking uncle immediately replied, "Well, I don't know if she's got mad cow disease, but she has sure got Blackleg." :)
 

flounder

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'Mad Cowboy' says you're safer with organic beef


cowsense wrote;

>>>OT......Could any Montanans give us some background on Lyman.....I can't fathom how a so-called rancher could resort to vegan activism against his so-called friends! The only thing that bothers me worse about this is the myriad of viewers that rely on Oprah for their view of the world <<<


IF everyone had a view on the world as Oprah does, the world would be a much better place.
she just gave away 10 million and built a complete neighborhood here in the Houston Texas area for relocated Katrina victims. All her work in Africa and other places, she is an earth angel. i think most folks here and other places that don't like her is because she is a rich black woman. Old howard just sent me a copy of his new book, follow up on his other book the mad cowboy. the follow up book is NO MORE BULL. he recently did a radio show here in Houston about his new book and mad cow disease, and the other diseases he can relate too from his experience as a Rancher and his heart ailments. smart guy. too bad some here take his actions as a stab in the back.

http://www.madcowboy.com/02_VVFprods.002.html




soapweed wrote;

>>> I smarted off and said, "Well, Oprah shouldn't worry about getting mad cow disease. She's already got it." My quick thinking uncle immediately replied, "Well, I don't know if she's got mad cow disease, but she has sure got Blackleg." <<<



WHO got the last laugh though :) Miss Oprah, Lyman and there attorney Chuch Babcock, gave old Engler of Cactus Cattle feeders and others a good spanken, twice actually, it was a slam dunk, nothing but net. this is what you call, shooting yourself in both feet;-)



Web posted Friday, January 23, 1998 5:49 a.m. CT

Witness testifies some ill cattle sent to rendering plant


By CHIP CHANDLER
Globe-News Staff Writer

A senior vice president of Cactus Feeders Inc. testified Thursday that cattle with central nervous system diseases were sent to a rendering plant.

Attorneys for talk-show host Oprah Winfrey tried to link those diseases with mad cow disease during a sometimes heated cross-examination.

Mike Engler -- son of Paul Engler, the original plaintiff and owner of Cactus Feeders Inc. -- agreed that more than 10 cows with some sort of central nervous system disorder were sent to Hereford By-Products.

The younger Engler, who has a doctorate in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University, was the only witness jurors heard Thursday in the Oprah Winfrey defamation trial. His testimony will resume this morning.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report from which Winfrey attorney Charles Babcock quoted, encephalitis caused by unknown reasons could be a warning sign for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

Encephalitis was indicated on the death certificates -- or ``dead slips'' -- of three Cactus Feeders cows discussed in court. The slips then were stamped, ``Picked up by your local used cattle dealer'' before the carcasses were taken to the rendering plant.

Under later questioning by plaintiff's attorney Joseph Coyne, Engler said he thought symptoms of encephomyolitis, which include the cow keeping its head locked in an upright position, were ``inconsistent with what was observed in England'' with BSE-infected cattle.

Engler and Babcock sparred frequently as the afternoon's testimony wore on. Most of their squabbles centered on what was said during the April 16, 1996, ``Oprah Winfrey Show,'' the episode that sparked the lawsuit. Engler said during direct testimony that he felt the show contained numerous false statements.

He said Winfrey and guest Howard Lyman seemed to say that the cattle industry was not in favor of a ban on ruminant feed, believed to have caused the spread of mad cow disease in England. Such feed includes processed animal parts.

He said the cattle industry had asked the Food and Drug Administration to impose a mandatory ban on that feed weeks before the show aired.

One significant exchange centered around whether Cactus Feeders or any of the plaintiffs were mentioned by name during the show.

Babcock asked Engler to point out on the show's transcript where they were mentioned.

Engler said he could not, but said, ``When you talk about beef producers in the United States, and we're (Cactus Feeders) the largest cattle feeder in the U.S., then I kinda feel like you're talking about us.''

The plaintiffs are suing, in part, under Texas' False Disparagement of Foods Act, meaning they will have to prove the defendants specifically disparaged the plaintiffs' products.

During direct testimony on Thursday morning, Engler outlined the standard procedures for feeding cattle in feedlots. To do so, he mixed in a large, clear plastic bowl the ingredients that would make up the 20 pounds of feed a feed-yard animal eats per day.

The recipe contained 78 percent steamed, flaked whole corn; 10 percent roughage; 3 percent liquid fat; 2 percent molasses; and 1 percent vitamins and pharmaceuticals, Engler said. The remainder would be a supplement, an ingredient bought from feed manufacturers to provide protein. This portion would be made primarily of cottonseed or soybean meal, but could contain meat and bone meal.

Before this summer, that meal could have contained rendered cattle parts, which is believed to have contributed to the spread of mad cow disease in England, Engler said. The government issued a mandatory ban on such feed on Aug. 4.

Later, Babcock and Engler fought over Lyman's statement that ``cows are eating cows.''

Engler would not concede, as Babcock wanted, that rendered cows can still be considered cows when part of bone and meat meal.

Corn is processed into fructose, which is then used in soft drinks, Engler said.

``When people drink Cokes, they don't say they're drinking corn,'' he said, arguing that a similar process happens with rendered cows.

During the day's testimony, Engler also said statements by Lyman were inflammatory and false.

He said the statement ``100,000 cattle are fine at night, dead in the morning,'' made by Lyman, is untrue.

``It simply doesn't happen,'' Engler said, adding that most cattle that die are the victims of lengthy illnesses with symptoms that are tracked.

When questioned by Lyman's attorney, Barry Peterson, Engler said he did not know whether cattle with BSE might have been imported from England or other countries before bans on those countries' cattle were enacted.

Peterson focused on the only known case of BSE in Canada. He said cattle from that herd were brought to America. Though most were found and destroyed, some could not be located, he said.

``You can't tell me today that some of those cattle were not turned over to a renderer?'' Peterson asked.

``Nor can I say they were,'' Engler answered.

Winfrey appeared tired during testimony, at times resting her face in her hand. The eight-woman, four-man jury appeared attentive through most of Thursday's testimony, though by the end of the day, some seemed restless.



http://amarillo.com/stories/012398/cattle.shtml





Engler's son on the witness stand
Cattlemen vs. Oprah Winfrey


By CHIP CHANDLER
Globe-News Staff Writer

A senior vice president of Cactus Feeders Inc. said Thursday that it was possible that cattle with what the defense characterized as mad cowlike symptoms were sent to a rendering plant.

Mike Engler - son of Paul Engler, the original plaintiff and owner of Cactus Feeder Inc. - agreed that more than 10 cows with some sort of central nervous disorder were sent to Hereford By-Products. He made the statements during a cross-examination that at times grew heated.

The younger Engler, who has a doctorate in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University, was the only witness jurors heard Thursday in the Oprah Winfrey defamation trial. Testimony will resume Friday morning.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report from which Winfrey attorney Charles Babcock quoted, encephalitis caused by unknown reasons could be a warning sign for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

Encephalitis was indicated on the death certificates - or "dead slips" - of three Cactus Feeders cows. The slips then were stamped, "Picked up by your local used cattle dealer" before the carcasses were taken to the rendering plant.

Under later questioning by plaintiff's attorney Joseph Coyne, Engler said he thinks symptoms of encephomyolitis, which include the cow keeping its head locked in an upright position, were "inconsistent with what was observed in England" with BSE-infected cattle.

Engler and Babcock sparred frequently as the afternoon's testimony wore on. Most of their squabbles centered on what was said during the April 16, 1996, "Oprah Winfrey Show," the episode that sparked the lawsuit.

One significant exchange centered around whether Cactus Feeders or any of the plaintiffs were mentioned by name during the show.

Babcock asked Engler to point out on the show's transcript where they were mentioned.

Engler said he could not, but said, "When you talk about beef producers in the United States, and we're (Cactus Feeders) the largest cattle feeder in the U.S., then I kinda feel like you're talking about us."

The plaintiffs are suing, in part, under Texas' False Disparagement of Foods Act, meaning they will have to prove the defendants specifically disparaged the plaintiffs' products.

During direct testimony, Engler outlined the standard procedures for feeding cattle in feedlots. To do so, he mixed in a large, clear plastic bowl the ingredients that would make up the 20 pounds of feed a feed-yard animal eats per day.

The recipe contained 78 percent steamed, flaked whole corn; 10 percent roughage; 3 percent liquid fat; 2 percent molasses; and 1 percent vitamins and pharmaceuticals, Engler said. The remainder would be a supplement, an ingredient bought from feed manufacturers to provide protein. This portion would be made primarily of cottonseed or soybean meal, but could contain meat and bone meal.

Before this summer, that meal could have contained rendered cattle parts, which is believed to have contributed to the spread of mad cow disease in England, Engler said. The government issued a mandatory ban on such feed on Aug. 4.

Engler also said statements by defendant Howard Lyman, a guest on the April 1996 show, were inflammatory and false.

He said the statement "100,000 cattle are fine at night, dead in the morning," made by Lyman, is untrue.

"It simply doesn't happen," Engler said, adding that most cattle that die are the victims of lengthy illnesses with symptoms that are tracked.



http://amarillo.com/stories/012298/022-3228.shtml





Web posted Wednesday, February 18, 1998 2:02 p.m. CT

Graphic pictures greet Winfrey jury


By KAY LEDBETTER
Globe-News Farm and Ranch Editor

Pictures of sheep heads, euthanized pets and roadkill greeted jurors this morning as they returned to the continuation of the cattlemen vs. Oprah Winfrey lawsuit.

The lawsuit continues today in U.S. District Mary Lou Robinson's court, but in a much diminished state.

Robinson, after hearing a day of arguments, granted the defendants' motions to dismiss the case in part. The jury will not consider defamation and false disparagement of food issues, Robinson ruled, but the trial will move forward on the common-law business disparagement cause of action.

Defense lawyer Charles Babcock called Van Smith, a City Paper reporter from Baltimore who had written an article on rendering plants in September 1995.

Smith and Babcock went through more than 50 pictures taken as the reporter toured the Valley Proteins plant in Baltimore and followed a rendering truck to the local animal shelter, a sausage plant and a slaughterhouse.

The pictures showed offal being emptied from the slaughterhouses. They showed animal shelter workers in the euthanasia room; barrels of dead animals in a refrigerated room at the animal shelter; waste meat from the sausage plant; and dead sheep from the slaughterhouse.

Babcock used the pictures to back up a statement made by defendant Howard Lyman on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Lyman's statement was, "well, what it comes down to is about half the slaughter of ... animals is not salable to humans.

"They either have to pay to have to put it into the dump, or they sell it for feed; they grind it up, turn it into what looks like brown sugar, add it to all of the animals that died unexpectedly, all of the roadkills, and the euthanized animals - add it to them, grind it up and feed it back to other animals."

Babcock also said sheep were a part of this process, contrary to what he said plaintiff Paul Engler earlier testified, that a voluntary ban on sheep in the rendering plant was being followed.

Joseph Coyne, plaintiff's attorney, asked Smith what type of newspaper he wrote for. City Paper is a free alternative weekly paper with a circulation of 91,000 that Coyne said published "the bizarre and offbeat."

"Really gross, wasn't it," coyne asked Smith, referring to the pictures. Smith agreed and also said Coyne was right when he said something had to be done with the pets and animals that people do not take care of.

"There are a lot of elements in society that have to take responsibility for this problem," Smith. "The rendering industry is quietly trying to take care of it."

Without saying why, Robinson has taken the lawsuit out from under the Texas False Disparagement of Perishable Foods law, or "veggie libel law."

The plaintiffs, in their response to the defendants' motions for dismissal, said the general elements of a claim for business disparagement are publication by the defendant of disparaging words, falsity, malice and special damages.

The case focuses on comments made during a segment of Winfrey's April 16, 1996, television show on "Dangerous Foods."

Babcock argued Tuesday that there is no "clear and convincing evidence of actual malice," that is, evidence that Winfrey and Harpo Productions knew, at the time of publication, the statements were false.

Babcock said plaintiffs and their witnesses actually testified that Winfrey seemed sincere and wanted to be fair to the industry.

Coyne said the program directly caused the price of cattle to drop and that the plaintiffs suffered losses on the sale of their live cattle and the sale of their cattle on the futures market.

He said the sale of cattle is different from that of a product such as a car, where each maker or producer can identify specific products. With the beef industry, the consumer cannot distinguish between the different producers' products, which means the show was "of and concerning" these plaintiffs.



http://amarillo.com/stories/021898/graphic.shtml




Web posted Friday, February 27, 1998 3:29 p.m. CT



Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey pumps her fist Thursday morning as she greets fans and media outside the federal courthouse. Winfrey said she was pleased with the verdict. (Henry Bargas/Globe-News)
Winfrey wins one for free speech


By CHIP CHANDLER
Globe-News Staff Writer

Trumpeting a victory for free speech, Oprah Winfrey exited Amarillo's federal district courthouse on Thursday a relieved woman after jurors unanimously said she was not liable for statements made on a 1996 talk show.

Plaintiffs quickly said they planned to appeal the verdict.

"My reaction is that free speech not only lives, it rocks!" Winfrey said to a throng of reporters and well wishers gathered in front of the courthouse.

Jurors returned their verdict shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday, deciding that Winfrey, Harpo Productions Inc. and Howard Lyman did not say or air false and disparaging statements about cattle owned by the plaintiffs on Winfrey's April 16, 1996, show.

Winfrey, holding back a widening grin as the jurors left the courtroom, appeared to wipe away tears. She later buried her face in her hands and cried.

Reaction was more subdued from the cattlemen who challenged Winfrey in their home territory.

In the courtroom, they exchanged handshakes and well wishes with their opponents.

Paul Engler, who was the first to file suit against Winfrey, congratulated the talk-show host.

"She worked hard all the way through it just like the rest of us. . . . Of course, we wanted to win," he said.

He did not back down from his belief that Winfrey and her guest made false statements about U.S. beef, nor that Winfrey's talk show was sensationalistic.

"If they're giving opinions, I think they should state they're giving opinions. . . . I want to see responsible reporting and responsible talk-show hosts," he said.

Attorneys for the cattlemen said their case might have been lost when the judge ruled that jurors had to decide that Winfrey's show specifically referred to the cattle owned by Engler, Texas Beef Group and other plaintiffs.

None of the plaintiffs were mentioned by name in the show.

The eight-woman, four-man jury deliberated about 5 1/2 hours over two days before reaching its verdict. The trial lasted almost 27 days over six weeks.

The cattlemen had sought more than $10 million in damages they said was caused by sales losses. Instead, they may have to pay Winfrey some money.

Charles Babcock, Winfrey's lead attorney, said he would ask the judge to order the plaintiffs to pay for his client's court costs. He estimated the cost at $100,000.

He said he likely would not ask for attorneys' fees from the plaintiffs.

Engler and other cattlemen across the country said they did gain a partial victory in the trial: getting out a message that American beef is safe.

But Winfrey said the verdict's message was a definite victory for the First Amendment.

"I have come from a people who struggled for a voice, and I was not about to give it up because two Texas cattlemen wanted me to be silenced," she said.

"I believe I'm one of those people who probably took (free speech) for granted, and I will never be that way again," she said.

Presiding juror Christy Sams said both sides made strong cases.

"There were valid points on both sides, and we just took the facts as we were presented them and made our decision. . . . I think we based it mainly on the facts," she said.

She said she agreed with plaintiffs' arguments that free speech must come with responsibility, but that Winfrey didn't harm anyone.

But, she added, "I think basically it came close to crossing the line."



http://amarillo.com/stories/022798/022-3318.shtml



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